Praxis Discussion Series: Urbanisation

Published on Oct 30, 2012 by 

For the first time ever in human history, more than half of us live in cities. But rapid urbanisation brings vast challenges. Many cities are starkly unequal, with high levels of environmental damage. One in three city dwellers live in slum conditions; many lack a secure home, a job, basic sanitation or safe water supply. What’s driving urbanisation? How can we make our cities more inclusive? What does resilient, sustainable urbanisation look like, globally, in Asia, and in the Pacific? This is a discussion with four leading experts: Max Kep, Director of Papua New Guinea’s Office of Urbanisation; Professor John Connell from the University of Sydney; Truman Packard, a Lead Economist at the World Bank and Simon Cramp, Director of AusAID’s Governance for Growth Program in Vanuatu.

This event is part of the Praxis Discussion Series 2012.

Friday 12th October in Sydney connecting to Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Timor-Leste

Olivia Rousset


Max Kep
Max has been Director of the National Office of Urbanisation in Papua New Guinea since 2003. He is Chair of the National Consultative Committee on Urbanisation as well as the National Committee on the Informal Economy. Previously he has held a number of esteemed leadership positions in the PNG Government including Chairman of the Industrial Arbitration and Minimum Wages Board (1998-2002); Director of Labour Economics and International Relations Employers Federation (1990-1997) and Head of Research and Projects at the Department of Labour and Employment (1984-1988). Max has degrees from the University of Manchester in the UK and the University of Papua New Guinea. In 2010 he was awarded the Member of the Logohu for Services to PNG.

John Connell
John Connell is Professor of Geography at the University of Sydney. He was previously at Sussex University and the ANU and has worked with and for the International Labour Organisation, the World Health Organisation and the South Pacific Commission. He is particularly interested in urbanisation, migration and remittances in the Pacific, and has written more than 300 articles and over 20 books. The books include Migration from Rural Areas: the evidence from village studies (with M. Lipton, R. Laishley and B. Dasgupta), Urbanisation in the Island Pacific. Towards Sustainable Development (with J. Lea), The Global Health Care Chain. From the Pacific to the World, and The International Migration of Health Workers. When he is not engaged in these loosely academic activities he plays football in the Eastern Suburbs (Sydney) Over 45s League — without great success.

Simon Cramp
Simon is currently the Director of AusAID’s Governance for Growth Program in Vanuatu. The program is responsible for delivering AusAID’s economic growth and public financial management program in Vanuatu, which includes AusAID’s investments in telecommunications, energy, roads, maritime, aviation and urban development. Simon has been with AusAID for 10 years and has managed programs in the Pacific (Director Polynesia and Micronesia) , PNG (Law and Justice), Vietnam (Rural Development) and the Middle East/Afghanistan. Prior to joining AusAID he worked in the Queensland Government’s then Department of State Development, Trade and Innovation’s Major Project Unit. He holds a Masters of International Relations, Bachelor of Science (Hons) and Bachelor of Commerce.

Truman Packard
Truman Packard is a Lead Economist and has worked in various operational positions at the World Bank since 1997. Trained as a labor economist, his work has focused primarily on the impact of social insurance – including pensions, unemployment insurance, disability benefits, and financial protection from adverse health events – on household labor supply decisions, saving behavior and risk management. Truman has been a part of World Bank teams providing assistance to governments seeking to improve the coverage and efficiency of education, health and social protection systems in Latin America and the Caribbean, Central and Eastern Europe, and East Asia and the Pacific Island countries. He also served as Deputy Director of the pioneering World Development Report 2009 “Reshaping Economic Geography”, and is a member of the Bank’s Safety Nets Global Expert Team. Truman holds a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom.


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